O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330of Salonica’) controlled western and central Greece. Lower Greece was in thehands of the so-called Latin Empire, which also ruled in Constantinople. Crete was under the rule of Venice. Finally, the ‘Empire of Nicaea’ held western AsiaMinor. Thus there were
competing candidates for the ancient andprestigious throne of New Rome or Byzantium: (1) the Greek Despot of Epirus,Theodore Komnenos Doukas [1214-1230]; (2) the Latin Emperor, Robert of Courtenay [1221-28], who actually held Constantinople; and (3) the ‘Nicaean’Greek monarch Theodore I Lascaris [12o5-21]. Theodore had been aged about 30 when the Fourth Crusade stormed Constantinople in 1204, ousted the Roman(Byzantine) emperor Isaac II, and installed a Western (Latin) ruler.It is also useful to mention the major Latin states in Europe. There were five of note: (a) the Kingdom of Hungary under the Arpads; (b) the ‘German Empire’ so-called, under the Hohenstaufen kings, which included Sicily and nominally alsonorthern Italy; (c) France under the later Capetian kings; (d) Castile [the mostpowerful of several Christian kingdoms in Iberia]; and (e) England under thePlantagenets [Henry III]. Last of all—but very strong at sea
were the small‘maritime’ states of northern Italy: Venice, Genoa and Pisa (the last being much weakened after 1284).(*) The Despot was not an especially tyrannical ruler; his title was just anordinary Greek word (
) meaning ‘lord’ or ‘master’.
Strong and Weak States
McEvedy & Jones’ (1978) guesstimates of population will serve as a metric for therelative strength of the Christian states. We will take first the Greek or Aegeansphere. Their estimate for Greece [present-day boundaries] is one million peoplein about 1225. To this must be added a guess for the population of the NicaeanEmpire. Here we can use one-third of what is now Turkey-in-Asia, namely twomillion people in the 13
million. When Greek rule was restored in Constantinople in 1261, emperor Michael VIII had about
subjects, if we follow McEvedy & Jones. Otherestimates for the restored empire of around 1265 run as high as five million, notfalling to perhaps two million until the disastrous reign of Andronicus II (by AD1312) (Treadgold 1997: 700, 841: see the discussion in the entries below for AD1278 and 1282).This can be compared with McEvedy & Jones’ guesstimates for the Westernpowers in the early 1200s: Hohenstaufen Germany: perhaps 7 M including Sicily;France: perhaps 6 M people (allowing for the smaller size of 13
C Francecompared to today); Castile: about 3.25 M in 1225; and England: about 2.5 M.Finally we will note the likely size of the strongest Muslim state, the AyyubidSultanate: about 6 million people.
The Early Palaeogian Army
. . .. . . is described in detail in a long section placed before the entry, below, for AD1328.2